Our Groups ministry (“Life Groups”) also has a Vision: ‘Building Community, Making Disciples’. To create such a short, defined Vision, we went through a process to encapsulate what the ministry of Life Groups is all about, why it exists, and the purpose Life Groups serve in our church.
Our Life Group Core Team meets every 5-6 weeks and during one of our meetings we discussed the need to redefine Life Groups – we needed a focus and a clear driver for our ministry. In 2016 the number of Life Groups grew substantially, from 26 – 40 groups, and we wanted our Life Group Leaders to remember why they do what they do.
• Make sure it COMPLEMENTS YOUR CHURCHES VISION!
It would be strange if your Groups ministry had a completely different focus than your church – it won’t make sense and you’ll start to confuse a lot of people. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel; your goal is to define what you’re doing in your ministry. The hard work is already done… Your vision should complement the wider church vision.
Here’s an idea… Our core team wrote out all the words that we felt defined Life Groups at Milton Keynes Christian Centre. Now, there were a lot… about 100 words were written down to describe what Life Groups are for: connection, friendship, caring, fun, learning, growing, food, worship, doing life together, Jesus… you get the picture.
Each of us picked our top 5 from the list that we thought were most important. We continued the exercise by then picking our top 3, until we were left with just 5 words.
• Keep it SHORT, SIMPLE & EASY TO REMEMBER!
The 5 words were: Jesus, Doing Life Together (DLT), Caring, Fun, and Growing. Putting these words into a vision was the next hurdle. We ended up with 3-4 different versions all very wordy and long, here are 2 examples:
Every person to love Jesus, build friendships, care for each other while having fun, doing life together and reaching out to make disciples
Doing life together by loving Jesus, forming deeper friendship, being good Disciples of Christ whilst having fun’
Even though we included all the words, the statements weren’t memorable and weren’t easy to say. We narrowed it down to a single sentence that encapsulated it all. This was then followed up by a strapline which was easy to remember and defined the vision.
In time we realised that we could remember the strapline and not the vision. This made it clear – the strapline ‘BUILDING COMMUNITY, MAKING DISCIPLES’ should become our vision. It defined our core reason for Life Groups and we had managed to define it in 4 words… short, simple & easy to remember!
• Always REITERATE THE VISION!
When we communicate with our leaders we use our vision. It sits alongside our Group ministry branding. When we encourage them we use the vision, when we ask them to do something we use the vision, when change happens we use the vision, it’s even written under my email signature.
The more exposure you give your vision, the easier it is for your leaders to rally behind it.
The original 5 words were still important, so alongside the vision we created 5 Life Group Values, values we encourage our leaders to display and share with future leaders, their group(s), and wider community.
Want to learn more about creating a strategy for your Groups ministry? Check out our FREE download ‘Values of Life Group Ministry?’ coming soon.